Well, it’s been 6 months since I posted my bit about marriage or divorce. If you read it, you know that I was seriously considering divorce. I thought I’d do a little follow up about how we’re doing now.
For the first few weeks it was still really rough. My husband and I had multiple conversations – some of which included blow ups. What really hit me though was when my husband said, “Maybe you’re right, maybe we should get divorced.” My heart stopped when he said that. I realized it was one thing for me to have been having that train of thought but then to have my husband actually agree with it … to vocally say he was having the same thoughts. It brought a little more reality to the situation in a very scary way.
I started going to therapy. I’d been putting off something that I had been saying I needed to do for over a year. Let me just clarify – this was not couples therapy, this was just for myself. It made a HUGE impact and taught me things about myself and about my relationships. There is nothing wrong with going to a therapist – and it’s doesn’t need to be a long term thing. But I also learned that to have a successful marriage you have to be completely, and I mean COMPLETELY open with each other. The book, Hold Me Tight, talks about this and it mentions that a lot of times we react to each other because we are scared of being completely open and vulnerable to the other person and so we react in order to protect ourselves. But this only damages our self and our relationship with our spouse.
It was not easy opening up to my husband and telling him every fear and thought that I had about us, about my own insecurities, about what I wanted in our marriage and what he wanted as well. How sad is it that after 12 years of marriage we were still scared of being rejected by each other? We have tip-toed around each other in every aspect and facet of our lives because we were worried how the other would react or accept us. That’s not what a happy, healthy marriage is.
I realized that I really had become pretty self-centered. I tried to recall when was the last time that I tried to do something, even inconsequential, for my husband other than keeping the house clean and making meals. I couldn’t come up with a single instance, but I could come up with plenty of instances when my husband had done something small but it still showed he was thinking of me. Giving me a foot massage almost every night, buying me flowers, taking the kids out so I could have alone time, cleaning the bathrooms before I got to it, doing the laundry, cleaning my car for me, buying my my favorite treats…I could go on and on. Does anyone else see that there is something wrong with this? Gosh, how self centered I was – I felt bad for my husband. He deserves to have a loving wife. I was so ashamed.
“There is no lasting happiness if our life is self-centered and selfish. We find ourselves (or experience happiness) by losing ourselves (see Matthew 16:25).” ~”Love is a Choice: Making Your Marriage and Family Stronger,” pg.163
I’m not saying this is the sole reason my marriage was failing, because it was failing, but it was definitely a major contributor. I started keeping a daily journal and writing down what I had done to show my love to my husband that day.
Howard W. Hunter said, “Marriage is a learned behavior. Our conscious effort, not instinct, determines our success.” I hadn’t been making a conscious effort in our marriage.
Gordon B. Hinckley said, “A good marriage requires time. It requires effort. You have to work at it. You have to cultivate it. You have to forgive and forget. You have to be absolutely loyal one to another.”
Gah! *face slap* – this is how I felt over and over as I read marriage books and talked with my therapist. But let me tell you, I am more in love with my husband today than the day I married him. I’m learning and striving to make my marriage succeed. Our relationship definitely isn’t perfect, but it’s so much better than it ever has been. I LOVE my husband dearly and I know he cherishes me.
I’ll share with you a few goals I have everyday concerning my husband. Goal number one, either send him a text or slip a note in his work bag telling him how much I love him or that I’m thinking of him. Goal two – as soon as he comes home I stop what I’m doing to give him a hug and a kiss. These may seem like small things – but it’s made a big difference. It’s amazing how small and simple things can have such a large impact. Goal three – you need to know that we only see each other (without kids) for an hour a day. So I make sure that I am focused on us that entire time because we need to be able to connect each and every day – it strengthens our relationship. Goal four – we have couple prayer together every single night.
Okay, those are just a few goals that I’m sharing with you. as you can see, they aren’t anything overly extravagant, just very simple. But I’ve made a conscious effort in our marriage and it is making a difference. I’ve seen it not only in myself and the love I have for him now, but I see it in him towards me too. Our husbands need to feel loved and wanted on all levels. I could probably go on and on about this. I’ll post some links for the books I’ve found helpful in strengthening my marriage and maybe it will help some other couple out there too. Marriage is hard. Life is hard. But the things that are the most worth while – those are the things that don’t come easy.
~Good Bad Pretty